SSL Protection Rolled Out for Google Search
Article by George Norman
On 25 May 2010
Browsing the web on a regular connection (a.k.a HTTP) is good and all, but it is not exactly what you would call safe since the data sent over the web is not encrypted. Browsing the web on an SSL protected connection (a.k.a. HTTPS) makes things a lot better from a security point of view because the data is encrypted. If the data is intercepted by a third party, it cannot be easily accessed – unless of course the encryption is broken, but that is unlikely.

If you are a security-oriented computer user who wants to protect the data he sends over the wire, then you will be glad to find out that Google has rolled out an encrypted version of its web service that you can access at https://www.google.com.

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“When you search on https://www.google.com, an encrypted connection is created between your browser and Google. This secured channel helps protect your search terms and your search results pages from being intercepted by a third party on your network. The service includes a modified logo to help indicate that you’re searching using SSL and that you may encounter a somewhat different Google search experience,” explained Software Engineer with Google, Evan Roseman.

The new SSL protected Google Search is a new release – so naturally, it carries the Beta tag. The Beta is there to explain why the encrypted Google web search comes with a few limitations. For example you will not see links to Image Search or Google Maps, because these services are not covered. Your web searching experience may be slower than what you’re used to because its takes longer for SSL to set up an encrypted connection between your computer and the remove web server.

Please note that SSL support in Google Search only means data is encrypted so that third parties cannot access it. It does not prevent Google from logging your searches.

“Google will still maintain search data to improve your search quality and to provide better service,” added Evan Roseman. “Searching over SSL doesn’t reduce the data sent to Google — it only hides that data from third parties who seek it. And clicking on any of the web results, including Google universal search results for unsupported services like Google Images, could take you out of SSL mode. Our hope is that more websites and services will add support for SSL to help create a better and more consistent experience for you.”

Hopefully HTTPS will become the norm for Google Search, just like it did with Gmail.

Additional info on Google search over SSL is available here.



Tags: Google, Google Search, HTTPS, SSL
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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